Lovie Smith understands Packers rivalry

When the Chicago Bears hired Lovie Smith in 2004, he listed beating the Green Bay Packers as his No. 1 goal, and it wasn't by accident.

"One of the first things [former team chairman] Michael McCaskey went over with me when I came here to interview for the job, to make sure I knew about the rivalry," Smith said Monday. "He let me know a little bit about it then, too.

"Believe me, we know exactly how we are supposed to feel about that rivalry."

The rivalry will reach a new height on Sunday when the Bears host the Packers for the NFC title. The long-time rivals haven't faced each other in the postseason since 1941.

"I don't think we really need a lot of motivation for this team," said Smith, who is 7-7 against Green Bay. "If we didn't know, everyone would let us know, how important this football game is to our fans.

"I grew up a big Dallas Cowboys fan, knew quite a bit about the Packers from that. I was on the other side. Anywhere I've ever been, I haven't been with a team where we were cheering for the Packers, so I had a little dislike for them way back then. I knew about the rivalry here with the Bears and Packers."